This 10th Grader Is Jumping Into the GMO Debate

Andrew Demeter’s short doc on genetic engineering was a first-prize winner in a C-SPAN contest.

Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.


Most people looking for answers about genetically modified organisms will simply take to the Internet. Andrew Demeter, a 10th grade student at Notre Dame–Cathedral Latin in Chardon, Ohio, went a step further and took his questions straight to the people who spend their lives thinking about and working with GMOs.

In his documentary We the People, Genetically Modified?—one of the first-prize winners in C-SPAN’s StudentCam doc competition—the intrepid high school student speaks with consumers, farmers, public health officials, nutritionists, and others about this controversial topic.

With wit, a desert-dry sense of humor, and a sort of geeky-formal style that recalls Bill Nye, Demeter presents a compelling explainer on the topic in just seven-and-a-half short minutes.

There are a couple of misleading moments, including when the former investigative reporter he interviews says that tomatoes are commonly genetically modified—a common misconception. But that moment, along with the somewhat clueless responses he gets from shoppers at a local grocery store, highlight a very important truth: A lot of us don’t exactly know what’s going on with GMOs. Efforts like this go a long way toward helping to inform all of those information-hungry people who are sitting at home Googling the term.

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